As a kid we were always excited to lose a tooth. We wanted that shiny quarter or if we were lucky a dollar left under our pillow by the tooth fairy. Those feelings of excitement are replaced by apprehension and disgust if we lose a tooth as an adult. There is no tooth fairy leaving us money for our teeth anymore.
What Happens When A tooth is Missing
If we lose a single tooth, we might not consider it a terribly big deal, especially if it is in the back of the mouth where it is not very noticeable. We might well reconsider if it is a front tooth, readily visible when we speak or smile.
Well, believe it or not it is a big deal for several reasons. When we lose a tooth and vacated space is available in the mouth, the teeth on either side will shift to take over the space. This in turn alters our biting motion which can put unnecessary pressure on the surrounding teeth and our jaw muscles.
When we are missing a tooth and there is no opposing pressure applied to the bone structure anymore, the bone can begin to deteriorate. If the bone mass has diminished too far a bone graft would be needed in order to support an implant to put in a replacement tooth. Once the replacement tooth is in place, the pressure resumes which causes the gum tissue to remain firm around the tooth and stimulates the bone structure to maintain its normal strength.
Is Replacing a Single Tooth Really all that Important?
In a word, yes. As mentioned above, if it is not replaced, it can cause far more expensive procedures at a later date to correct subsequent problems. If you are missing a tooth and would like to discuss your options, please call us.